Three new scholarships have been announced with the City Futures Research Centre in Built Environment, to help postgraduate students gain practical experience and research solutions to real-world problems.

UrbanGrowth NSW, the state-owned corporation that plans and delivers urban transformation programs, is supporting two $20,000 Master of Philosophy degree scholarships over two years in Urban Renewal, and Cox Richardson, one of Asia’s largest architecture and design firms, is supporting another worth $10,000.

Julian Frecklington, UrbanGrowth NSW’s Chief Operating Officer, says he is proud to support students who will play an instrumental part in planning, designing and building our cities in the future.

“Our support is part of UrbanGrowth NSW’s University Engagement Program, which recognises the importance of our universities and the contribution that they make transforming our living spaces,” he says.

The scholarships will fund students who research topics that look at processes, practices or outcomes related to Australian cities’ urban renewal and, specifically, Sydney. Students will do their research at City Futures on campus, and have access to support and staff from UrbanGrowth NSW where appropriate.

Laura Schmahmann, the scholarship’s inaugural recipient, is working on the role of spill-over effects on employment of creative clusters in Sydney, specifically Surry Hills and the Australia Technology Park in Eveleigh, says Professor Bill Randolph, Director of City Futures.

“Laura will look at whether, when industries are co-located, there really is a transfer of ideas between firms that support creative growth and these locations become a nexus for innovation. The classic example of course is Silicon Valley,” says Randolph. “When you are regenerating an area, jobs, as well as housing, are critical.”

In the Cox Richardson Scholarship, the recipient will work with architects and urban planners at Cox Richardson, and have use of their resources, modelling equipment and receive mentorship from senior architects.

“We are interested in MPhil students who want to do serious research with us,” says UNSW Conjoint Professor Philip Graus, who is also a practice director at Cox Richardson. Engaging with a scholarship student is a win-win situation for everyone: “Research makes a practice better,” he adds.

Cox Richardson will not be prescriptive about the recipient’s project. “We would like to develop a topic in conversation with them, which is aligned with urban planning and design, although we are not really interested in something theoretical,” says Graus. “We hope this experience, working in a technical environment, will make the students very employable.”

Randolph says that the industry interaction will be invaluable for the students: “It is very important for them to have an applied learning experience, instead of just sitting in an ivory tower at a university, and that they are studying a topic that is relevant to a real world problem challenging the future of our cities.”

For more information on this story, or other news from UNSW Built Environment, please contact Catherine Brown:


Phone: 9385 6380

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